Lightning's Steven Stamkos 'unfit to play' in Game 4 of Stanley Cup Final

After his incredible, yet brief, return to the Tampa Bay Lightning lineup in Game 3, Steven Stamkos has been deemed "unfit to play" in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Head coach Jon Cooper delivered the news Friday afternoon -- however, Cooper said the Bolts captain has not yet been ruled out for the rest of the series. The Lightning currently lead the series 2-1, meaning a Game 5 will be played at the very least, with the potential for more.

After missing the entirety of the Lightning's post-season run due to an injury suffered before the club reconvened from the season pause to begin training, Stamkos made an immediate impact upon returning to the lineup in Game 3.

Managing only 2:47 minutes of ice-time on the night, Stamkos struck twine within moments of rejoining his club, scoring the second goal of the Bolts' eventual 5-2 win just seven minutes into the tilt. In doing so, he extended a scoring streak that was halted when he was originally knocked out of the lineup on Feb. 25. With Game 3's goal in tow, that streak now stands at 16 games and 23 points.

Whether it'll be pushed to 17 remains to be seen -- the Lightning play Game 4 on Friday night before a quick turnaround to Game 5 on Saturday. Should the Stars manage to win one or both of those two games and extend the series, Games 6 and 7 are slated for next Monday and Wednesday, respectively.

All in all, Stamkos posted 29 goals and 66 points through 57 regular-season games in 2019-20, dominating before being forced to the sidelines with a core muscle injury.

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